Winter is probably my favorite season in the kitchen. I love warm, spicy flavors like gingerbread, pepper, and cocoa. I love bright citrus, golden root vegetables and dark leafy greens. I love baking all day without overheating the house. But something I love more than almost all of that… having a huge pot of homemade soup or broth simmering away filling the house with delicious smells all day.
Homemade broth is not only a more frugal option than the store-bought stuff, it’s also more nutritious and delicious. Even the expensive, organic brands are no match for the deep, rich flavor you can create in your own kitchen with just a handful of simple ingredients like beef bones, some veggies, and salt. And if you have never made beef stew using homemade bone broth…. you will be amazed.
After a recent conversation with one of my children’s doctors, I realized that a lot of people have a misconception about the difficulty involved in making bone broth. This particular physician knew all about the health benefits of nutrient-dense bone broth, but admitted she had never actually tried making it. She just assumed it would take too much effort and be too time consuming. But guys, it is actually not hard at all – like the name says, it’s surprisingly simple!
I have already shared an easy recipe for homemade chicken broth. And I think this beef broth is even more simple. Here’s a few notes before I share a quick recipe:
- Always use the highest quality of beef you can afford. The healthier the cow, the healthier the beef broth. I am fortunate to have found a local farm with affordable grass-fed, non GMO grain-finished cows. They almost always have “soup bones” on hand. You probably won’t see beef bones in the meat case, so just ask the butcher at the grocery store and they usually with give you several pounds of bones for a few dollars.
- Use bones from a roast you’ve already cooked for a richer flavor. Any time I make a roast, I save the bones for broth. Even if I just have enough bones to make a small batch, it’s worth it.
- Add a little acid, like a splash of vinegar. I forget where I read this tip, but adding the acid helps to draw even more of the minerals out of the bones.
- Beef bones need to cook a long time – way longer than chicken. Think 18-24 hours! I use my crockpot so I can cook overnight.
- When the broth is finished, strain out the large pieces of bone, onion, meat, etc. It works best to strain into a bowl with a pour spot for easy transfer into jars or containers for storage.
- Upon refrigeration, it often becomes “gelled”. This is a good thing! It will become liquid again when it is heated up again.
- 1-2 lb beef bones
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, cut in large pieces
- 1 celery stalk, cut in half
- 1-2 tablespoons vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon salt, more or less depending on your tastes
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns (or cracked pepper)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
- 2-3 dried bay leaves (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
- Water (enough to completely cover the bones)
- Place the bones in the crockpot. Top with chopped vegetables, herbs, salt, and vinegar. Pour enough water over to cover the bones.
- Set your crockpot on high and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, change to the low setting and cook for up to 24 hours. During the first few hours, I remove any foam that forms on the top.
- Turn off the crockpot and let cool for about 30-45 minutes. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of beef, bone or vegetable.
- Transfer to glass jars or containers. It can be stored in the fridge for 507 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.